Chapter

Introduction

Jeffrey F. Meyer

in Myths in Stone

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2001 | ISBN: 9780520214811
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921344 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520214811.003.0001
Introduction

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Centrality is a dominant issue in Washington. The city was initially chosen as a compromise among conflicting regional interests and was seen as a midpoint in the geography of the existing states. At the deepest level of investigation, the visitor to Washington sees the very beginnings of urbanism. Urban historian Lewis Mumford pointed out that it was the conjunction of the sacred and secular power that first gave rise to cities in the river valleys of the ancient world. Washington is a fusion of the secular and sacred, a uniquely modern blend of politics and religion that is nevertheless grounded in the archaic past. It has its rituals to reaffirm the unity of the nation, to celebrate victory, and to commemorate noble deaths. The myth in stone that is today's Washington continues to be created. Myth-making remains.

Keywords: Washington; urbanism; Lewis Mumford; politics; religion; myth

Chapter.  4777 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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